Model: Silicon Power 500GB Diamond D20 USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive
Manufacturer: Silicon Power
Provided By: Silicon Power
Silicon Power is a relatively new name in the storage industry. Founded in 2003 by a group of professionals specializing in international business, global marketing and technical engineering, the company has already established itself as one of Taiwan's top manufacturers. With an eye for attractive and versatile design, Silicon Power has built its brand around the concept that its customers deserve products that represent who they are in life and mirror their personality. The end result is a variety of uniquely designed storage products including USB flash drives, memory cards and solid-state drives (SSD).
Along with their flash based storage solutions, Silicon Power offers a growing number of portable hard drives. One of the latest additions to their product lineup is the Diamond D20. Available in 500GB and 1TB capacities, this lightweight, ultra-slim drive features a solid aluminum metal structure with a unique carbon-like texture and scratch resistant surface. The Diamond D20 is also equipped with a built-in LED status indicator and a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface which allows transfer speeds up to 10x faster than USB 2.0. To top it all off, the drive works with Silicon Power's SP Widget backup and security software and is covered by a 3-year warranty.
|Silicon Power Diamond D20 USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive|
Dimensions and Weight
Needless to say, this is only a taste of what the Diamond D20 has to offer. To give you an idea of what to expect, we'll take a closer look at Silicon Power's new portable hard drive and then put it through its paces to see how well it performs. Is the Diamond D the best choice for the person on the go? Keep reading as we find out.
Packaging and Contents:
The Diamond D20 comes packaged in a simple, yet attractive, black, blue and yellow box. The front advertises many of the drive's key features including its 500GB capacity, USB 3.0 interface, LED indicator and slim design. There is also a large, plastic window which lets you look inside the box and see what the drive looks like. The back of the box provides a bit more information, including the Diamond D20's specifications, system requirements and features. Inside the box you'll find the Diamond D20 as well as a USB 3.0 cable and User Manual.
The Diamond D20 is one of the smallest portable hard drives to come through the 'Labs. Measuring 116.5 x 78 x 10.5 mm and weighing a mere 135g, the drive easily fits in a purse, laptop bag or even a pocket.
The top of the Diamond D20 is made out of aluminum and is covered by a white, carbon-like texture that is designed to resist both scratches and fingerprints. The bottom and sides of the drive are covered by a lightweight, black plastic. The matte finish resists finger prints fairly well, but is not nearly as scratch resistant as the top.
The Diamond D20's SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface is located along the bottom edge of the drive. This connector not only transfers data, but provides power for the drive. Its hard to see in the picture, but there is a small LED located to the left of the USB 3.0 interface that lights up blue when the drive is powered on and will flash to show when data is being transferred.
I wasn't able to crack the Diamond D20 open. However, using CrystalDiskInfo, I was able to see what hard drive was in the enclosure. Looking at the screenshot below, you can see that Silicon Power has used Toshiba's MQ01ABF series (MQ01ABF050) hard drive. This slim 7mm drive features a SATA 3.0Gb/s interface, 8MB cache and a 5400 RPM rotation speed.
As with most USB drives, the Diamond D20 was very easy to install. Those running Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 can simply plug the drive into any available USB 2.0 or 3.0 port on their computer. If the computer is already turned on, plug and play will automatically detect the drive.
If installed correctly, the Diamond D20 should show up in the Device Manager. Under Windows 7, the drive is identified as a "PHD 3.0 Silicon-Power USB Device".
The Diamond D20 comes formatted with FAT32, giving the 500GB model about 465GB of usable space. If you plan to store files larger than 4GB in size, you'll want to convert or reformat the drive with NTFS.
While the Diamond D20 doesn't ship with it, the drive is compatible with Silicon Power's SP Widget software. Available as a free download, SP Widget provides seven major backup and security functions for use with Silicon Power's portable hard drives and USB flash drives.
SP Widget's browser interface is pretty straightforward. Along with a meter that shows how full a drive is, there are a handful of icons along the right hand side of the screen. From here you can launch functions that will sync or backup your Documents, Favorites, Folders or email. You can also create your own custom backup tasks which can compress and encrypt your data and be scheduled to run at specific times.
The software also includes features to encrypt/decrypt files outside of a backup task and lock your computer when you are away.
The last major feature of SP Widget is Norton Internet Security. The version available for download through the browser is only a 60 day trial. Silicon Power has cut a deal with Symantec, though, which lets users extend their subscription at a discounted rate.
The test system used in this review was an HP 8300 Elite. The computer came equipped with an Intel Core i5-3470 Ivy Bridge CPU, 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory, Seagate Barracuda ST250DM000 250GB SATA 6 Gb/s hard drive, NVIDIA Quadro FX600 1GB PCIe graphics card and an Intel 82579-LM gigabit network card. For the operating system, I installed a fresh copy of Windows 7 Enterprise.
To test the performance of the Silicon-Power Diamond D20, I ran a series of benchmarks using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1, HD Tach RW 22.214.171.124, ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.47 and HD Tune Pro 5.00.
First, I ran a few quick tests using CrystalDiskMark. This benchmark tool measures the performance of a storage device by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its random read and write speeds using blocks 512K and 4K in size.
Silicon-Power doesn't really say what kind of speeds the Diamond D20 is capable of. Using CrystalDiskMark we can see that the drive is able to read at 118.6 MB/s and write at 117.7 MB/s when connected to a USB 3.0 port.
HD Tach RW 126.96.36.199:
Next, I used HD Tach to test the Diamond D20's read, write and burst speeds as well as its seek times and CPU usage.
When connected to the computer's USB 3.0 port, the Diamond D20 had average read and write speeds of 94.0 MB/s and 69.7 MB/s respectively, as well as a burst speed of 179.8 MB/s. The drive wasn't nearly as fast when using USB 2.0 though. Compared to what we saw with USB 3.0, the Diamond D20's read and write speeds dropped by nearly two thirds.
ATTO Disk Benchmark 2.47:
I also used ATTO Disk Benchmark to test the Diamond D20's sequential read and write speeds. The test was run using blocks ranging in size from 0.5KB to 8192KB and the total length set to 256MB.
When tested with ATTO, the Diamond D20's read speeds topped out at about 118 MB/s and its write speeds at 117 MB/s when connected using USB 3.0.
HD Tune Pro 5.00:
Next, I ran a series of tests using HD Tune Pro. This hard disk utility measures a drive's performance by testing its sequential read and write speeds as well as its access time, burst rate and CPU usage. For this review, I used it to benchmark the Diamond D20's random read and write speeds, random access times and the number of operations per second.
Once again, the Diamond D20 performed very well when connected to the computer's USB 3.0 port. The drive had average read and write speeds of 89.8 MB/s and 86.9 MB/s, respectively, and a burst rate of 176.3 MB/s when reading.
Using USB 3.0 didn't have nearly as big of an effect on the Diamond D20's random read and write performance. Nevertheless, the IOPS and average speeds were, in most cases, higher than what we saw when the drive was connected to a USB 2.0 port.
With the Diamond D20, Silicon Power has shown us that good things do come in small packages. This ultra-slim, portable hard drive is both solidly constructed and lightweight, featuring an aluminum metal structure with a unique carbon-like texture and scratch resistant surface. For a portable drive, the Diamond D20 also packs some impressive performance. Thanks to its USB 3.0 interface, it was able to read and write at speeds in excess of 117 MB/s. The Diamond D20 is also backwards compatible with USB 2.0, but, as you saw in our tests, it's much slower when operating in this mode. Silicon Power rounds all this out with a three year warranty and their SP Widget software which helps users protect and backup their data.
The Diamond D20 is available now in 500GB and 1TB capacities and can be purchased from Amazon.com for as little as $72.
- Available in 500GB and 1TB capacities
- Ultra-slim and lightweight design
- Fast transfer rates with USB 3.0
- Backwards compatible with USB 2.0
- Top of the drive has scratch-resistant, metallic grain surface
- USB powered
- Power saving sleep mode
- Reasonably priced
- Well constructed
- 3 Year Warranty
- SP Widget software is Windows only
- Plastic parts are not scratch resistant